New Meanings for New Applications?

There I was on my Flickr Photostream, and I wanted to move a photo so it didn’t show on my blog. I tried to move it. It went with my cursor and then bounced back, so I went to ‘Organise and Create’. Once the pictures I wanted were selected, I saw a link for ‘clear these photos.’ Clear, I thought, means put aside or throw away, doesn’t it? What did it mean by clear? It could all manner of things.

There was no way that the photos could be dragged and dropped into an order that helped me, but I could rotate a selection of them at one time. So the people in my pictures ended up lying on their backs. When Flickr streams can be imported onto other websites, such as WordPress, would it not be useful if people could put them in the order they would like the pictures to appear in? This simple action doesn’t seem possible – or at least it’s not signposted clearly – on Flickr.

Then it said: you can drag and drop a picture to delete. So I deleted the rogue picture. Then what? What can I do with these pictures now? So I can add Titles Dates and Descriptions, rotate, delete or add them to a group or batch but there is no way to move them around.

When I go to Help to ask how to do something, I get information ABOUT it. There is nothing pointing me to HOW TO DO something. This seems to be a characteristic of the information superhighway. The word  ‘information’ is taken too literally. They seem to find so much to say ABOUT everything, never imagining that a search entry for ‘copy’ does not indicate a person who wants to know the history and famous incidents of carbon paper. Copy is a verb and, to me, it suggests someone who wants to know how to do it.

Surely, ‘upload photos’ is clear?

– What do you want to find?

– ‘Upload Photos.’

– ‘Oooh, OK, uploading photos is a way to transfer pictures from a file on your desktop….’

– ‘…How do I…?’

– ‘…excuse me, you’re interrupting me. Let me finish….your desktop to a website.’

– ‘…and? Is that it?’,

– ‘Yes, that’s what you asked for. Now have fun.’

Lastly, why do we think it is so great to call something by a different noun? Why not call a flat piece of paper a ‘book’ when it sounds much more important that a piece of paper? However, understatement is cool too, because you can downgrade a computer to a Book or even just a flimsy Notepad. Hey, how about calling it what it actually is?

Why did they invent the word ‘laptop’ if this really refers to the household cat? ‘Laptop’ only describes where we put the object, not what it is. You could call a cat a laptop. In fact, cats make better laptops than computers do, as they are much more comfortable to have on the lap and a darn sight better for our blood pressure.

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